Ginseng: The Mystical Healer
Ginseng is the most widely available herbal supplement today. Many people believe the ginseng plant has mystical healing powers and health benefits.
Ginseng's original name was "man root" since the ginseng root resembles the shape of a human body. Ancient Chinese doctrines state that a plant that resembles a human body part will have a healing effect on that body part. Therefore it is believed ginseng is able to restore harmony to the entire body.
Ginseng is a slow growing herb, which consists of a light colored root, a single stalk and long oval green leaves. Ginseng contains complex carbohydrates called saponins or ginsengsines. It possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer elements.
For years, the Chinese have used ginseng as an energy tonic. Today, the western world is exploring its benefits in treating stress and levels of mental lucidity.
Russian research has found ginseng stimulates physical and mental activity in tired and weak individuals. It was also found to help with balance.
Asian research has found that ginseng helps mental improvement, eliminates anemia, and helps prevent diabetes, neurosis, coughs, tuberculosis and asthma. It was also found to strengthen the gastrointestinal system and help with liver regeneration. It is even able to reduce the effects of alcohol and decrease hangovers. People taking regular ginseng were found to be able to handle higher levels of stress on both an emotional and physical level.
It is advised to stop taking ginseng if you experience side effects such as a rash or diarrhea, or if you develop a fever. People using warfarin, a blood thinner, should consult their physician and be monitored.
If you are interested in trying ginseng, the best supplements to buy are those which have not been subjected to excessive processing, thereby rendering them ineffective. Also, make sure you purchase authentic ginseng products since wide variations in quality exist today. It was found 15% of ginseng products contained no ginseng when tested. Your best guarantee of quality would be to purchase the whole root.
There is tradition, folklore, and research which support the healing and health benefits of ginseng.
It also has experienced safe use through the years. There has been more modern research done on ginseng than on any other herb. In fact, today athletic performance experts as well as the medical community are studying it.
Although it is best known and successful at boosting the immune system, improving mental function, and enhancing the ability to deal with stress, there are still studies being done to determine what other areas ginseng can be beneficial.
Are there different kinds of ginseng?
There are different kinds of ginseng that cure certain medical problems. Some of the ginsengs have anti-cancer effects in the body. The most common kinds are Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, Tropical Snowflake ginseng, Aralia, Schefflera, and many more. Each of these has individual features and different healing effects.
What is Panax ginseng?
Panax ginseng is sometimes called Korean ginseng. This refers to a deciduous perennial shrub with roots that are cultivated for 4-6 years in order to reach the age of maturity.
Panax is the most popular form of ginseng. This is commonly used as an anti-aging herb by most of the Chinese and Korean peoples. This is a popular herb today because it has fewer side effects and no toxic effects.
What is wild ginseng?
Wild ginseng is a ginseng that is not planted or cultivated domestically. It can be found almost anywhere because it grows naturally. However, the availability of wild ginseng is decreasing because it is already becoming endangered.
How much does ginseng cost?
Prices of ginseng products vary. It will depend on the kind of ginseng recommended for you by the pharmacist. Types of ginseng range from 10 to 100 dollars or more.
There are also ginseng roots that are sold for low prices but the highest grade will reach as high as $10,000 per root. Besides demand, the manner of cultivation also affects the price of ginseng.
How should I take ginseng: in capsules? in tea? just chew it?
You can take ginseng in capsules an hour prior to bedtime. You can also prepare it as tea. However, you should never take all the forms like tablets, teas and tinctures at the same time. This will cause an overdose of ginseng.
Is one form of ginseng more effective than another?
Standardized extracts and solid forms of ginseng have been proven more effective than others. They also provide more reliable effects than the other formulations.
Should I take ginseng with food?
The use or intake of ginseng sometimes differs from culture to culture. At present there are no specific restrictions in terms of food, beverages or any activity while a person is taking ginseng, but this should be directed by your health care provider.
How should ginseng be stored?
Most ginseng will have storage directions on the package. In general, ginseng should be protected from too much light and moisture to preserve its effect, so store in in a dark, dry place.